Thursday, 23 April 2015

DLT Class Uses Mobile Digital Technology to Go Musical

On Thursday 2nd April the DLT class began with a presentation by Charlene, an intern from the Educational Development Centre (EDC) at EIT, who covered the wide range of subject areas worked on at the EDC - e.g. Applied Science, Nursing and Teaching and the importance of knowing HTML for managing learning resources.
With Michael and Steph managing the technology to stream the experience to distributed students using Adobe Connect, the class went nomadic to visit the music studio at the ideaschool at EIT used by students doing the Certificate of Contemporary Music Performance.

Students, teachers and technology transitioning into the music studio

The ideaschool teacher, Tom, had a few students working on their consoles in class and generously hosted the DLT class in the studio to demonstrate the learning technology and the environment.  The studio is equipped with the Faronics Insight learning management system with an instructors console, large digital display screen and student workstations with electronic keyboards and Mac desktops.

Faronics Insight supplies a digital collaborative learning option with electronic communication between teachers and students in addition to face-to-face communication in the studio. Teachers can instruct, help, oversee and communicate with connected students, individually or as a group, from the teacher's computer.  Faronics Insight controls access to the web by students, reducing online distractions from messages, web-surfing or games.

Meta Learning - Music studio and DLT in action.. Music student (foreground) on musical composition; Teacher (background) at the main Faronics Insight console with class display screen behind.  BYOD invasion!
The studio is set out with workstations and with separate work tables for group collaboration for composing and playing instruments. 

Faronics Insight
Strengths: manages electronic communication; send and collect files, chat with users, broadcast messages, host classroom votes, student testing, reduce online distractions
Weaknesses: costs, setup and ongoing; space requirement; possibly perceived as overly controlling and restrictive; suited to distance learning?
Opportunities: develop for distance learning?
Threats: security - unauthorised access and disruption.

Some considerations when designing learning for remote participation
When designing learning for remote participation, the technologies, usually multiple/layers of technology (power sources, software, computers, cameras, microphones), have to be available and operational.  The technologies have to work effectively for both the teacher and learner i.e. good audio and visual quality and high speed of transfer of quality information so as not to detract from the learning experience.  Optional, secondary resources need to be prepared to backup and cover in the event of failure in any part of the technology chain.
As well as designing course material and assessments appropriate for both face-to-face and distributed learners, the learning design and preparation needs to cover the increased demands of teaching across two channels at the same time.  Preparation is required for two audiences, presented in one integrated session, with video recording for later viewing available.  The time demands, workload and variables are significantly increased over a standard face to face delivery to a class, which is taxing on the teacher.  The teacher must be skilled (and preferably at expert level) across all domains: pedagogy, instructional design, the subject material to be presented, the technology used for delivery and managing two audiences before, during and after delivery.  Solutions to manage the workload include teaching assistance with the audience(s), technical assistance to set-up and troubleshoot the technology; administration assistance (or automation) to complete class attendance records and assistance with instructional design and implementation. 

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